Act Five has some exciting news to share!
We are thrilled to welcome Madison Eckert onto the staff team as our Residence Manager for the next two years!
Madi has been a valuable member of our community since the summer of 2022. Her steady faithfulness, reliable presence, and careful wisdom have blessed our community immensely. We are delighted that she will continue to walk alongside Act Five.
Here is Madi’s personal introduction, as well as some of her reflections on her future role!
“What a joy to be able to write this introduction!
“I moved to Hamilton in January 2022 and moved into the Act Five house in May of that year. It’s been a gift for me to be part of the rhythms of this home—you can’t help but be shaped when you rub shoulders with this community. So to be more deeply involved through this role is an exciting opportunity!
“I work for an organization called Hope Story, which is a global missions organization that seeks to strengthen communities through initiatives, often educational, done by local churches. To have a front-row seat to how the Christian faith is lived out tangibly in other communities is a challenge to my own journey of faith, but also seeing the painful realities of other parts of the world keeps me longing for redemption in powerful ways!
“Prior to this, I worked at a church for seven years doing community outreach and student ministry. I also completed my Masters of Theological Studies in 2022 from Tyndale Seminary, and did a year of Bible College at Bodenseehof in Germany between completing my undergrad and starting the MTS program.
“Outside of all this, I teach fitness classes at a gym, and can be found rock climbing, playing Ultimate, or hiking (or, really, just doing something outside). I’m also a very proud auntie—affectionately known as Didi or tickle monster.
“I’ll never say no to a walk or chat over a cup of coffee, so feel free to reach out and we can get to know each other.”
What draws or has drawn you to the Act Five community?
“What initially caught my eye was that it was a gap year program, which is really significant for me. I did a gap year program after university and it was a very powerful year. I also think there’s something very formative about Christian gap year programs in particular—I remember noticing that people I’d known who had done Christian gap year programs tended to have a really hospitable presence about them.
“That was my initial interest, but the more I chatted with Jon and Alyssa and got to know the Act Five community, the more intrigued I became. Most of my Act Five encounters at the beginning were with Jon, and how he talked about their vision of discipling students captivated me. I was already thinking about discipleship—how do we disciple the next generation? What do I appreciate about being discipled? What have been my own positive and negative experiences? —and how Jon talked about these things met something in me. He articulated something that I had been longing for and wrestling with for a while, and Act Five was living it out.
“That, for me, was a draw. I wanted to be part of this out-of-the-box thinking about discipleship; an attitude that is incredibly formative and shows that following Jesus is so profound. It met something in me that I wanted to be a part of.”
What have been some joys and blessings of your time here so far?
“The greatest joy is that you get to just do life with people so closely. Realistically, that closeness is both the joy and the thing that challenges you the most. But there’s something significant for me about rubbing shoulders with people in the mundane moments of daily life. Otherwise, discipleship can be so scheduled. If you’re not living in the same home, you have to structure it in.
“But following Jesus often looks like just doing life together each day. Many of my most joyous moments are the mundane ones; the spontaneous side conversations that show you who people truly are, the unplanned memory-building moments of fun and vulnerability. You get to walk through really hard moments with people. Not just to hear about those moments, but to sit in the moments with them, and that’s really impactful.”
What are you most looking forward to about taking on this new position?
“I think what this home and what Act Five is trying to do is cultivate a place of healing, of living out your faith, of knowing who God is—so many things. There’s this cultivation that happens here in this particular place to then send people out.
“The idea, then, of being here for multiple years is so exciting. I’m eager to watch people come in like flowers that are being planted here, to help them blossom, and to then send them out again. Being here for a couple of years adds another layer of watching the multitude of people going in and out and seeing all the growth that happens here.
“I’m also eager to touch base with these cohorts a few years from now and see how this place has shaped them as they leave and engage in life outside of Act Five. I think this role will give me a closer view into people’s lives. It’ll allow me to ask hard questions and be really intentional in getting to know people deeply and walk alongside them closely.”
How might your previous work experience (Hope Story, church ministry, etc.) influence the ways in which you approach your new role?
“The fun part about having a separate job outside of Act Five is that because I get to work for an international development organization that is Christian-based, I have a front-row seat into some of the realities of the world that we tend to be very ignorant to in our context. I hear a lot of stories and I’m very aware of the differences in reality across the globe.
“So, I’m excited to live in this home in a local way and understand how to be a good neighbour and a strong community here; but at the same time, not to remain unaware of what’s going on globally. My new role feels like an opportunity to share about what I’m learning and experiencing through my work at Hope Story with young adults. It’s exciting to invite young adults into global development, especially since it’s historically been done quite poorly. We can reframe what it could look like and encourage them to engage in it well as Christians.
“It’s also cool to see that God is at work in the entire world. He’s here at Blake St., but he’s also in Colombia, in Tanzania, in Lebanon, in Thunder Bay. God is working in all of those places and he’s moving, he’s reconciling, he’s redeeming everywhere. To get to see that, all over the world as well as in our own home, gives us a bigger vision of who God is. I’m excited to share that vision with others in our community.”
We are eager to welcome Madi into a new role in the home! We rejoice that she can continue to bless the community, and we pray that her new position will bless her as well.
Applications for the 2023-2024 cohort are open! Apply now or spread the word!
Act Five’s summer residency program is running once again! Come and join an intentional community of young adults for the summer!